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'The thought was always to be here long-term': Canucks forward Elias Pettersson on his 8-year, $92.8M contract extension

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Canucks forward Elias Pettersson addressed the Vancouver media Saturday morning, just minutes before putting pen to paper on an eight-year contract extension worth an average of US$11.6 million per year.

“This shows the commitment from the Aquilini family and the organization to build a championship team here in Vancouver,” said Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin.

“Super happy today,” said Pettersson. “I’m just excited to see what the management can do, and so far what they have been doing since they came in. It’s, first off, building a culture, a winning culture here for us to succeed, and doing renovations in the rink, and so on. Everything is trending in the right direction, and the more I saw it, I just wanted to stay.”

Pettersson had previously said he wanted to wait until the off-season to re-sign.

“I knew it was going to be a big decision. That’s why I wanted to wait to make sure I was making the right decision for my life personally. And I am super happy with that,” he said.

While contract negotiations have hit a fever pitch in the past few weeks, Allvin says re-signing Pettersson has been a top priority ever since he joined the organization.

“I would say this is actually something that started two years ago, as soon as I got in here, building that relationship with Elias, showing him the vision. And I fully respected him and his agency here for taking their time, getting to know us, getting to know what Jim and I are all about, get a feel for the team we are trying to build here. And also the partnership with (head coach) Rick Tocchet,” said Allvin.

While there were rumours Pettersson was being shopped around to other teams, the Swedish forward says he wanted to remain in Vancouver.

“The thought was always to be here long-term. The more talk with Jim and Patrick, with my family, where I see the future and the vision of the team, made it clear what both parties wanted,” said Pettersson, who added he loves living in Vancouver, despite its reputation as a hockey pressure cooker.

“It’s a city that breathes hockey. Fans are passionate. It’s very similar to Sweden in some ways, that’s what I realized right away when I got over here. It always felt like home here and always felt peaceful living here, so hockey-wise I’ve always been happy living here,” said Pettersson.

“There was never any doubt that he never wanted to stay here from my view of it, and I think it was more about the trust and the vision he wanted to see clear here, and we respect that,” added Allvin.

As the Canucks head into Friday’s trade deadline with Pettersson’s deal now complete, “It definitely gives us more clarity.” Allvin said.

“Not just for next week, but moving forward here now. We can plan and project what cap space we have and how our core are going to be, which is very important. And that’s where you are building the puzzle, around the core.”

As for whether the Canucks will be looking to add to their roster at the trade deadline, “If there is a deal that makes sense for us next week to improve our group, we definitely will look into as always, that’s our approach,” said Allvin.

For Pettersson, who admits the pressure of re-signing with the team that drafted him in 2017 has been an added challenge, its a relief to once again focus solely on what’s happening on the ice.

“Hopefully we can focus on winning games, and that’s the long-term goal, is to bring a cup home,” he said. 

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